Protest rocks Akure, as BEDC disconnects 3,000 residents

Over 3000 residents of Parliament Estate Residents Association in Akure, the Ondo State capital have issued a two weeks ultimatum to the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) to energise the transformer in their locality or face massive protest.

The residents who carried placards to protest in Akure said the BEDC was provoking them to storm its headquarters in Benin City, the Edo State capital and shut it down.

They protested through the estate and some streets in Akure.

Speaking during the protest, Chairman of the Parliament Estate, Engr. Titus Falana, said they contributed money to buy the transformer in 2019 and all efforts to get the BEDC to energise it have failed.

Engr. Falana stated that the BEDC forced them to submit original receipt of the purchase of the transformer and made them to write a letter of willingness to donate the transformer to the power firm as condition to connect the transformer to national grid.

He said the entire landlords would storm Benin City to disrupt activities at the BEDC headquarters if the transformer is not powered.

According to him, “We bought poles, cables and all necessary things. We have made every arrangement but they are saying some people here are owing. We don’t the power to collect debt for the BEDC.

“They should migrate the debtors to metering arrangement so that they can pay little by little. We will carry out a bigger protest to Benin, the BEDC headquarters. It is terrible that we spent N10m to buy transformer and others facilities and nothing has happened.

“A bigger protest is coming that will embarrass them if they do not energise this transformer within two weeks. They did not contribute any money to the project. For over two years they have not done anything here even though we contributed our money. We are appealing to the government to ensure this transformer is connected.”

Another landlord, Dr. Christopher Olanusi, said they opted to purchase the transformer after power supply to the estate destroyed their electrical devices.

“We are protesting because of the transformer we bought that has not been connected. This transformer has been there for more than two years.

“We spent more than N7m but the BEDC is giving flimsy excuses. At a point, they said some people are owing. It is not our duty to go and collect debt owed to BEDC. They should energise the transformer so that it will make more money for them. We cannot burst into another person’s apartment to force people to pay electricity bills. They know how to collect their debt.

“We have been suffering here. The electricity has damage our devices. No houses here can use fridge. The power given to us cannot power anything. They said it was problem of transformer so we decided to buy one to solve our problem. They do not want to connect us for reasons we do not know.”

But spokesman for the BEDC in Akure, Mike Barnabas, said the protesters paid N600,000 electricity bill out of over the N1m debt owed.

Barnabas said the transformer would be energised immediately the debt is paid.

He stated that the landlords owing electricity bills had to clear their debt as it was a new transformer that has been installed.

“Individual landlord knows what he is owing. They should pay up so that we can start on a clean state.”